Creating effective learning in today's emergency departments: how accomplished teachers get it done

Ann Emerg Med. 2005 Mar;45(3):253-61. doi: 10.1016/j.annemergmed.2004.08.007.


Study objectives: Significant impediments to effective emergency department (ED) teaching compromise what could otherwise be an excellent learning milieu. There is little literature to guide faculty development around specific emergency medicine teaching techniques. We determine what recognized experts in emergency medicine teaching consider to be the important clinical teaching behaviors that make them good teachers, the main impediments to good teaching in EDs, and important prerequisites for a good ED teacher.

Methods: This was a structured telephone survey with qualitative grounded-theory analysis. Participants were current Canadian emergency medicine teaching faculty who have won awards, been promoted, or received persistent excellent evaluations according to their ED teaching. Participants underwent a 45- to 60-minute standardized structured telephone interview. Interviews were transcribed and independently coded by 2 investigators using a grounded-theory approach. The codes were merged by consensus, and the data were recoded. Twenty percent of data were then coded by both investigators to estimate interrater reliability of final coding. Discrepancies were resolved by agreement.

Results: Of 43 potential participants, 33 were still in practice, available, and willing to participate. Twelve ED-specific, practical, implementable strategies representing the general themes of learner-centeredness, active learning, individual relevance, and efficiency emerged. Participants collectively identified 6 significant impediments to teaching and 9 prerequisites to being an effective ED teacher.

Conclusion: Accomplished emergency medicine teaching faculty identify with common impediments to ED teaching yet are able to describe practical, easily implemented strategies that they believe make them good teachers. They also take advantage of basic prerequisites for good teaching.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Canada
  • Emergency Medicine / education*
  • Emergency Service, Hospital*
  • Faculty, Medical / standards
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Interviews as Topic
  • Male
  • Teaching / methods*
  • Teaching / standards